By Maximilian Clarke

Heathrow Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, Normand Boivin, has written to all the airport’s staff about the impending public sector strikes which are widely expected to result in severe disruptions to Europe’s busiest airport.

We are expecting significant disruption and delays to arriving passengers, wrote Boivin. Modelling of the impacts of strike action on passenger flows at Heathrow show that there are likely to be very long delays of up to 12 hours to arriving passengers.

Disruption will be caused by a walkout of UK Border Agency staff, which expects to be able to operate at best at 50% productivity. Discussions ‘at the highest level’ have led to little progress.

Heathrow is a vital hub for the UK's businesses, and even temporary disruptions can result in widespread losses in productivity.

The extent of the disruptions to the UK’s airports, coupled with widespread disruption to all forms of business due in particular to school closures arising from the Nivember 30th strike, has been forecast by Cabinet Minister Francis Maude to cost the UK economy a staggering £500 million. The Trades Union Congress, who support industrial action, have rubbished this figure as 'fantasy economics'.

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